5 Day Lower Canyon Motor Raft Trip

  • Canyon Route: Phantom Ranch to Whitmore Wash ( 100 river miles)
  • Meet: South Rim, GC
  • Return: South Rim, GC
  • Transportation: Optional flight from Las Vegas to South Rim or ground shuttle from Las Vegas, Phoenix or Flagstaff (Not Included) - Return from take-out point (Whitmore Wash) via helicopter and charter flight to South Rim, Las Vegas or Marble Canyon is included

  • Lodging: At South Rim (not included in price) Will need to be at South Rim the day prior to trip's start date

  • Rapids: 19 major rapids rated 5 or above (1-10 rating scale)
  • Group size: 14 passengers per raft. 2 raft maximum
  • Minimum Age: 8 years old
  • Included: Camping gear w/ chairs & sleeping cots
  • Duffel Service: Possible PENDING AVAILABILITY
  • Required Hike: Strenuous 9.5 mile hike descending Bright Angel Trail at trip's start
  • Raft: S-Rig
  • Price: $2345  Deposit: $300
  • *$2,345/person is the pay it now rate: Pay in full for your trip at the time of booking. No refunds, transfers or substitutions  
    *$2,465/person is the regular price  
    *$2,220/person is the child rate  (8-16yr)

    *Prices subject to change

Trip Logistics:

You will need to arrive at the Grand Canyon South Rim the evening prior. Lodging is not included in the price. On the morning of day 1, you will meet your hiking guide at the Bright Angel Lodge at 5am (May through August) or 6am (April, Sept. October) to begin your descent to the river. The hiking guide will stay with the slowest person during the hike. Orientation will occur when everyone has reached the rafts. On the morning of day 5, you will be transported via helicopter to Bar10 Ranch where you will enjoy lunch and a hot shower. Shortly after, you will board a charter plane to either the South Rim or Las Vegas, NV which will conclude your trip. It is not recommended to schedule outbound flights out of Las Vegas before 5pm. 

Hotel Reservations/Transportation To & From

Hotel at Trip’s Start South Rim, GC: You will meet at the South Rim then night before your trip begins. This hotel is not included in the trip package and must be arranged separately. We recommend calling Xanterra 888-297-2757 or 303-297-2757, AS SOON AS YOUR RESERVATION IS CONFIRMED to secure a room reservation THIS IS TIME SENSITIVE. Please note that Xanterra accepts reservations up to 13 months in advance. If there is no availability at the South Rim, Tusayan village is a short 10 minute drive right outside the park. Please click here for additional options. There is a complimentary shuttle which circulates from the South Rim to Tusayan Village every 20 minutes during the summer months (approximately between mid-May and early-September) from 8am - 9:30pm. You may also arrange for a Taxi between Tusayan Village and South Rim Grand Canyon through Xanterra 888-297-2757.

Transportation to South Rim, GC:  Optional flight from Las Vegas to South Rim is available (Bar10transport) or ground shuttle from Las Vegas, NV (800-222-6966), Phoenix or Flagstaff (Groome Transportation 928-350-8466). If you drove to the South Rim, you may either park at the Grand Canyon airport and shuttle inside the park (will save you time at trip’s end by avoiding the need to shuttle back into the park to retrieve your car) or you may also park near you hotel room inside the national park.

Transportation at trip’s End: You will have the option of flying to Las Vegas or South Rim, GC. This is included in the trip fare.

Duffel Service In-bound: TIME SENSITIVE Everyone should be able to hike the Bright Angel Trail with their backpack should this service not be available - Please consider this to be a BONUS if available. This service will allow for mules to carry your clothing/hygiene products in your duffel bag down to the river you while you hike with a lighter day pack (Highly recommended as are trekking poles). Many people opt for this service which is reserved through Xanterra 888-297-2757 and based on availability. If you are interested in this option, BOOK NOW as space is limited and should you decide against this trip, you can cancel for a full refund (up to 45 days prior to reservation date). 

Instructions: By 4pm the day prior to your trip, you will need to drop off your duffel at the Fred Livery Barn. When making this “IN-BOUND DUFFEL SERVICE RESERVATION” be sure to mention that it must be delivered to” Boat Beach NOT PHANTOM RANCH” on day 1 of your raft trip. If you arrive to the south rim after 4pm, you may drop your bag(s) off at the Bright Angel transportation desk (a $10 late fee will apply). If after 6:30pm you must call 928-638-2631 to arrange for duffel pick up. Bag dimensions must be no larger than 36X20X13 and weight less than 30lbs. Please inform us if you reserve the in-bound duffel service, as we will need to note your file. Please contact us if there is no availability with Xanterra.

 

See our transportation page for additional information

Motor Raft Trip

Motor trips are the most popular of all trip types. There are more motor trip launches than any other combined, among all of the outfitters. Typical launches include 2 rafts, and group sizes between 22-28 depending on the outfitter. There are upper, lower, western and full canyon trips offered on motor rafts. Some full canyon trips continue straight through with the same group of passengers, while others will make a pit-stop to let off upper canyon passengers, and allow for lower canyon trip passengers to join the group for the rest of the trip.

  • Most popular of all raft types, offered by 11 of 16 outfittersMotor Raft Trip
  • Most comfortable seating positions of all raft types and great for guests who seek a sense of security with a larger raft type
  • Covers more distance per day compared to non-motor trips
  • Action packed trips – will see more in a day and get form one attraction to another more frequently compared to non-motor
  • Popular choice for those looking to see more of the canyon while having ample time for off raft exploration
  • Largest percentage of people choose this raft type
  • Popular choice for any age especially children/teens who seek more activities Minimum 8 years old 
  • Group sizes between 12-14 per raft, 2 raft maximum/trip
  • Rafts may vary slightly from sample image
 

Hiking from Rim to River

At the start of your Lower Canyon adventure, this trip will begin with a mandatory hike into the canyon via the bright angel trail to meet your rafts. The trail is well maintained and has water stations at mile 1.5, mile 3, mile 4.8 and mile 9.  On average, descent time from rim to river is 4-6 hours.

 This is a strenuous hike, especially during the summer months between June-August, and should be considered only by those who are fit and healthy as you will be carrying all of your gear with you on your hike up. Please note that some outfitters’ itinerary can accommodate the “inbound” duffel service, a service which can transport your gear for a fee.

 

Google Earth Video

Click play for an actual look at the trail from a bird’s eye view. You will see where the hike will begin and end, as well as the location of toilets and drinking water facilities.

 

Elevation

The elevation from river to rim is 4,830ft and has an average grade of 10% along its entire length. The upper four miles of the trail has the steepest changes in elevation mostly due to the switch backs, however does flatten out considerably as it nears Indian Gardens. As the trail approaches Devil’s Corkscrew it will once again steepen, and due to the lack of shading at this part of the trail, can be very taxing especially during the summer months. This is one of the reasons that hikes begin very early in the morning, to pass this section before temperatures peaks. From the Pipe Creek/River Rest-house to Bright Angel Campground, (over 1 mile distance) the trail passes over sand dunes until reaching the Bright Angel Suspension Bridge (also known as silver bridge) which crosses over the Colorado River.

3-mile-rest-house

Water/Rest-houses

Be sure to take advantage of the water sources and rest-houses during your hike, as it is imperative to take breaks regularly. Between rim and river, there are three composting toilet locations (1.5 mile, Indian Gardens, river rest-house) and three water sources along the trail (1.5 mile, 3 mile, Indian Gardens). Please note there is never potable water at river rest-house and due to occasional pipeline breaks, these water sources are never guaranteed. For this reason, it is recommended that you carry enough water (3 quarts minimum) for the entire hike.

Descending the Bright Angel Trail

Lower Canyon trips are taxing on the ankles/knees/hips and calf muscles. There is a significant amount of abuse that your joints endure due to constant downhill trekking, especially when you include the additional weight from your day or backpack. This descent should be attempted by those who do not have major joint issues which can cause potential problems during this hike. Note that you will be hiking into the heat. Depending on the time of year, the temperature at the rim can be in the upper 40’s and temperatures may reach 110 at the bottom. Trekking poles are highly recommended as they can significantly reduce the stress on your lower leg muscles/joints by distributing the weight to your upper body muscles. Focusing on strengthening your leg muscles (calves and quads) is a crucial part of a successful hike.

Hiking-Bright-Angel-Trail1

Preparation for hiking the Bright Angel Trail

At least 2 months prior to your trip’s start date, begin using the stair master and hiking or using the treadmill with a slight incline. Slowly begin adding weight to your backpack in order to simulate what it will actually feel like on the hike. Keep in mind that you are traveling 1 vertical mile or close to 5,000ft in elevation gain/loss. 500 flights of stairs is equivalent to approx. 5,000 ft.

Hiking Tips

  • Hydrate the night prior – drink 6 to 8 glasses
  • Drink plenty of water w/electrolytes during your hike – You will sweat ½ to 1qt per hour
  • Take breaks and elevate your legs – do this to avoid lactic acid build up
  • Wet your hat/bandana/shirt – cotton stays wet longer, evaporation will keep your body temperature cooler
  • Eat snacks/food even if not hungry – essential for energy
  • Foot care – Break in your shoes prior to hiking. Bring extra socks as keeping your feet dry is essential. Use moleskin on hot spots and bring corn pads for existing blisters.

Cancellation Policy
Non-Refundable $300 deposit per person is due at the time of booking
Transferring to another date is allowed up to final payment (from booking to 60 days prior to departure of your trip)
There is a $50 service charge for passengers transferring to another date in the same year.
If you opt for the Pay It Now rate there is no refunds/transfers/substitutions

Payment Policy
*Pay it now rate : Pay in full at time of booking, you may opt for the discounted "Pay it now" rate.  Please let us know if you are interested in this.  Please note that if you choose this option, there are no refunds, transfers or substitutions, therefore trip cancellation is highly recommended.
Otherwise, $300 is due in order to reserve your spaces and final payment is due 60 days prior to the date of your trip
*Pay it now rate is not available for trips departing in June or July

Trip Cancellation Insurance
Trip cancellation is highly recommended. Insurance can help reimburse you in the event of illness or other unforeseen reasons for cancellation. See the most popular option listed below and click on the link for a description of the different levels of coverage as well as an immediate quote:  

Travel Guard Insurance

 

Additional Trip Dates

IconFirst Day

You will have arrived and spent the night at the south rim the day prior. You will wake early and begin your hike into the canyon, sometimes as early as 4:45am depending on the season. Upon the completion of your hike, you will meet your guides and the rafts at the bottom of the canyon. You will be handed your dry bags and transfer your clothing/personal products from your back pack to the dry bags. An orientation meeting will also take place upon the arrival of the last hiker. Lunch is served, and shortly after you will begin rafting down the Colorado river! The amount of rafting on this day is dependent on many factors and the trip leader will decide when and where to camp this evening.

IconEvery Day

Wake up to the smell of freshly-brewed cowboy coffee – sounds of rushing water mingled with the murmur of sleepy voices echoing through the grotto’s of the canyon walls. Breakfast is hot and hearty – or as light as you want. After breakfast you will be asked to form a “bucket line” to help load the gear back on the boats and then the Colorado River beckons and you are off once again experiencing the rush of adrenaline as you continue on your journey back in time. 

Enjoy spectacular white water of major rapids, such as Horn Creek, Granite, Hermit, Crystal, Upset and Lava Falls – you will see and enjoy dozens of additional sights, as well as stretches of calm water where you will relax in the warm sun and enjoy breathtaking scenery. Photographic opportunities abound in the lower canyon. Lunch on the Colorado River; build your own sandwiches, with chips, cookies, fruit and soft drinks. Relax, read a book or perhaps hike or fish before shoving off again for an afternoon of thrills and surprises. Late afternoon finds you at camp for the evening. Again you will be asked to help unload the gear from the boats. As your crew sets up the camp kitchen everyone finds their ideal camp spot and sets up their “home” for the night. Later you relax with a cool drink and hors d’ oeuvres, get better acquainted with your fellow river companions – as dinner sizzles on the grill. After dinner watch the sun set, join in the conversation of the group, and listen to the quiet of the canyon as you settle into your sleeping bag under a blanket of stars. Tomorrow brings another typical day on the Colorado River. 

IconLast Day

100 River Mile Trips/Whitmore Exit - Shortly after breakfast, you'll raft a short distance to the helicopter pad. Your expedition terminates at Whitmore Wash river mile 188. At approximately 9:00 am, you and your gear will be transported from Whitmore Wash via a 7 1⁄2 minute helicopter ride to the Bar 10 Ranch on the canyon rim. Showers are provided and you will have the opportunity to enjoy your last buffet style lunch before returning to “civilization” via a previously arranged charter flight back to Grand Canyon Airport in Tusayan, AZ or Las Vegas, NV. Your charter flight is included in your trip cost

 

"The careful planning of our trip was obvious because everything was perfect, BUT what makes this company extra special are the people. I cannot say enough about our trip leader, second boatman, and swampers. They absolutely "made" our rafting through the canyon in every way."
-Chicago, IL

"Safety was their top concern. The rapids were high and exciting, but we were never concerned. Photographers--consider getting in the front boat (driven by the trip leader.) After we went through the rapids, we stopped and watched the second raft."
-Washington DC

"This is MORE than an adventure, it is MORE than a drift through the center of the earth, it is MORE than amazing food and sharing, it is something way more. I feel it, I loved it and I cherish it. Your team will make sure you taken care of as well. We loved this adventure and the people who now feel like a part of us forever."
-Gig Harbor, Washington

"Along with navigating the raft, preparing the meals, setting up camp spots and tending to blisters, aches & pains they were also very informative about the canyon history and geology of the area. This was all presented with a smile and kindness that made the group feel like a family trip."
-Arizona

"I think we picked the best company to enjoy this adventure. Our guides educated us, fed us, made us laugh until tears rolled down our faces, and truly cared that we had the most amazing experiences each and every day. I have never had a vacation that I thought about every day for at least one month after it was over until this one."
-Skaneateles, New York